South Sydney rookie Alex Johnston has set the NRL alight in a short space of time, bursting onto the scene crossing for 20 tries in just 17 games. It all seems too easy for the 19-year-old winger, but when asked how he’s feeling reaching the NRL Grand Final in his first season of top flight football, his answer was surprising: “Honestly, I’m absolutely shitting myself.”
He’s come a long way from the young kid imitating Greg Inglis in the NRL’s memorable 2009 “Feels Like Whoa” ad campaign, but the reality of being there alongside him in the biggest game of the year has made “AJ” a nervous wreck.
“I know I’ve scored plenty of tries this year, but it’s a different feeling when you’re in the final. So much pressure, so much expectation from the fans. I’d be lying if I said I got more than four hours’ sleep this past weekend. I almost vomited from the pressure at the Fan Day on Monday, so imagine how I’ll be feeling on Sunday – it’s a whole new beast entirely.”
“It’s all about how you react in the big moments,” Johnston continued, “I mean, what if I jam in on Tim Lafai and they pass it out to Mitch Brown unmarked?
“Shit, I just can’t stop thinking about it.”
Johnston’s South Sydney teammates have tried to put his mind at ease, but Johnston is far from reassured.
“Do you really think that the Sea Eagles don’t blame Dave “Wolfman” Williams for losing the Grand Final last year?”